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Looking for Cert Inspiration for 2015? Look no further!

By  Dec 31, 2014

Topics: Browse by Cert

As 2014 is about to wind up tonight at midnight, it's highest time to start thinking about what kinds of IT certification adventures to ponder for the coming year that kicks off immediately after the ball drops in your neighborhood. I've got some suggestions for areas worth thinking about, and digging into that appear to be on the upswing for job opportunities, promotions, or simply to breathe new life and interest into a flagging career.

In looking at the many technical areas in IT in which both job roles and IT certifications are available, I've come up with a list of at 26 such areas, as documented over at Tom's IT Pro (where you can also find "Top 5" cert stories for each of those areas). Those stories get revised annually, and we're almost half-way through the 2014-to-2015 transition right now, so I feel uniquely qualified to identify the leading lights among those categories, though all of them are worth digging into and investigating further:

Updated for 2015
IT Governance Information Security
Enterprise Architecture Storage
System Administration Programming
Computer Networking Web Programming
2014 Versions (2015 Updates in Process)
VoIP & Telephony Unified Communications Backup & Disaster Recovery
Data Center Cloud Computing Mobile Computing
Big Data IT Trainer Healthcare IT
Virtualization Telecommunications Wireless Networking
Computer Hardware Help Desk Project Management
Database Linux Computer Forensics

As you can see, this is quite a mix of topics and technologies. All of them have genuine value and appeal, but my recent observations of where IT professionals' interests incline them to go, and where the job and career enhancement opportunities are best, put these five items at the top of that overall collection:
  1. Cloud Computing/Virtualization/Data Center: This is an important nexus for modern and future IT operations and indicates the type of computing (Cloud), the most important runtime conditioner (virtualization) and the kind of physical environment in which such computing takes place (data center).
  2. Information Security: a leading technical area for a decade or more, infosec shows no signs of abating or falling in its importance to the grand scheme of things IT. Recent hacks and breaches only emphasize the criticality of this essential discipline.
  3. Project Management/IT Governance: Formal methods and disciplines for managing projects and handling IT operations in terms of risk management, best practices, and formal governance show that IT is maturing, and provide the tools organizations and enterprises need to do IT right.
  4. Programming/Web Programming/Mobility: IT runs on software, and software emerges from the development process. A new world of cloud and mobile computing is forcing software to be continually reinvented and recast into new forms. Lots of opportunities for interesting work here!
  5. Big Data: As companies and organizations learn to exploit the vast realms of data they collect as they go about their businesses, or enact their missions, they are creating immense value for themselves and their clients or customers. This area is still in its infancy and is rife with opportunity for IT professionals of all kinds.

Here's a bonus area, too, for those folks who may be just getting into IT for the first time, either fresh out of school or transitioning in from some prior kind of working life:

  1. Help Desk: A traditional route into the IT world for many just entering the work force, help desk and technical support provide the insight and information that workers and customers alike need to make the best of what IT has to offer. Though most who start here will wind up somewhere else, help desk is the funnel through which many aspiring IT pros must pass on their way into the field.

Depending on where you are in your career, and where you'd like that career to go in the future, you should be able to find one or more areas in which to ponder and possibly pursue certification. There's a wealth of information in this area, so I hope you enjoy the search, the pondering, and such pursuits as may make sense to you.